Congratulations, people of America: The holidays are upon us! That means that Oprah, the sainted mother of all things you-probably-shouldn’t-buy-but-totally-will-anyway, has graced us with her annual List of Favorite Things. Rejoice! Sorry, Neiman Marcus, your $66 collard greens are about to be nothing but a timeworn memory.
While a colony of angry bees trapped in an oversized gift box is, sadly, not on this year’s list, Oprah did gather together an impressive compendium of over 100 things that will make your life better, empty your pockets, and line her coffers with all that sweet, sweet affiliate money (this is a woman who made $12.5 million just by tweeting about bread, after all).
Oprah would probably never use any of these things in her personal life but nonetheless some of them are so ridiculous that we find ourselves hungering for them. One member of our staff — to remain nameless, not the person writing this post, please stop looking at me like that — bought two items off the list last year, and this year…well, check out the things you probably don’t need but will probably end up purchasing:
The fact that this well-intentioned but ultimately useless and dangerous item is even on the list suggests that it’s been years since Oprah last flew in a commercial airliner. On one hand, it could be a good idea, because you don’t want to stick anything in the seat-back compartment (sometimes there’s vomit in there!) (usually not yours!), and it really does look comfy — but do you really want to place all your valuables in some flimsy pocket and then drop off to sleep, leaving all your most important worldly possessions at the mercy of the people sitting beside you?
If Jodie Foster’s entire daughter could get kidnapped in Flightplan, don’t you think it’d be pretty easy for someone — anyone — to wander by, see your sleeping form (you look so angelic) and your phone in some flimsy velveteen pocket and just grab it? What are you going to do, get an air marshal involved? Sorry, he’s busy calming down that one dude who had a few too many before the plane took off and is now attempting to do a striptease for an extra bag of peanuts.
First of all: Anything wireless is amazing. Second of all: Aren’t all kitchen scales wireless? Don’t you just pop in a battery and let the scale do its thing? How many kitchen scales have you seen in the past ten years that need a wall outlet? Why would you spend 60 bucks on this one when you can buy a manual version that costs about ten bucks at your nearest home goods emporium?
Sure, this thing syncs to an app to let you know exactly how many goddamn almonds you’ve eaten today — and measuring out almonds is a well-noted habit of Oprah’s BFF — but are you ever really going to use it for that purpose? Are you even going to download the app?
Not gonna lie to you, though: I’ve already placed this one in my cart. Not because anyone in my life will ever use it, but because I too have apparently bought into the idea that anything cordless is automatically better than anything that isn’t.
At last count, Oprah had six dogs, which means that if these custom dog blankets are really some of her favorite things, then she’s spent approximately $2,400 on these microfleece coverlets for her canine companions. That’s roughly $2,250 more than many of us have ever spent on linens for our own boudoirs.
Point: These blankets are adorable and machine-washable (most important). And if I could get a few with my guinea pigs on them, I would 100% consider buying them when the holiday season is over and they go on deep discount.
Counterpoint: These blankets cost $400 and your pet will chew the hell out of them and then shit on their likenesses for good measure.
Sadly, you don’t need a medical card to eat this cake. It looks delicious and the concept is clever — it’s not just those ugly Christmas flowers your bosses let you take home from the company in lieu of a bonus, it’s a cake! — but at close to $150, this thing better get you high or grant wishes if it wants a space on your holiday table.
Ditto Oprah’s very witty cheese “cake,” which is just several artistically arranged clumps of brie that you should only buy if you’re the kind of person who loves having their dinner party guests titter at what a card you are for taking something so literally. Honestly, aren’t you just the living end, darling!
Point: Don’t buy this.
Let’s work this one out real slow: It’s a box. For sunglasses. It does not actually come with sunglasses. It’s just a $64 storage case with a glass top that will allow you to display your sunglasses to their best advantage without… what? Getting them dirty? Chipping the glass? There’s no godly reason on this earth that you should want one (or several) of these dumb boxes, and yet we can’t help falling in love with the idea of being a person who needs a box to display their sunglasses.
That’s why this box is actually a perfect gift. Is it almost useless? Yes, because many of us just keep our sunglasses in a drawer somewhere, but it sells you on a dream, an idea, a lifestyle!
“Here,” you’ll say to your boss when you hand her one of these at the company Christmas party, “I love and respect you. And one day I want to be just like you — a person so well-heeled and cosmopolitan that they have to keep their sunglasses organized at all times. You, my friend, are enviable and admired.” Congrats on your raise, you talented suck-up!
You will never use this, but damn won’t it look good sitting on your counter right next to your sorbet maker (see below) and your wireless scale (see above) and that air fryer that’s supposed to make everything healthy but just turns your favorite foods into tasteless wood chips that are somehow better for you (see Oprah’s list of favorite things).
Cheaper than a PS VR (if you don’t have a PS4), perfect for your mom and dad, priced just a little too high to buy it for yourself outright without feeling any guilt, this device threatens to drag even the most devout luddite into the 21st century!
While this headset looks cool, the user reviews suggest that it’s a little unwieldy, meaning that your parents (or grandparents, if they’re hip even after the hip replacement) will use this for an entire second before the device is placed under the coffee table for “later” (read: never). That means sooner or later you can “borrow” the headset for a few months and then never return it! Win for your parents (they got an amazing Christmas present, proving you still love them), win for you (you get to keep it, which was your plan all along!)
Sure, you could throw some of those scented pinecones sold in mesh bags for $2 onto the fire and get the same effect, but that’s really not the same as building your own fire with these glorified scented candles, is it? IS IT? There’s beeswax in these! And essential oils! (And they’re already sitting in my cart, just waiting to be purchased the next time I’m so depressed that I need to buy something to ease my pain.) (Probably next Tuesday.)
Like all the other kitchen appliances on the list, you’ll never use this (and no one believes Oprah makes her own sorbet, right?), but owning this product — it’s got Elite in the title! — will allow you to tell people that you do. Telling people you make sorbet is about 90% of the fun of sorbet! It’s worth every penny of the $95 bucks you’ll drop on this glorified frozen fruit masher (which you have to clean by hand after each freaking use).
A box of Quaker grits will run you four bucks on Amazon. These grits will run you $45.00. But the jars sure are pretty, aren’t they? And think of how happy each person they’ll be re-gifted to will be! Think of the joy your purchase will bring! (Pro-tip: Take them out of the package and give each one as a separate gift if you really want to tell someone that you cared enough to get them a present but not enough to spend $45.)
These will look amaaaaaaaaaazing on your bookshelf, but anyone who sees them will know that you just bought them for the dust jackets. Is it worth it? Absolutely. And they’re the perfect gift for anyone who is house-proud or likes to put at least five decorative pillows on their bed when guests come. Will people judge you? Is this too much to pay for As I Lay Dying? The answer to both those questions is a resounding yes, but if Oprah doesn’t care, neither should you.
Of course, if none of these gifts sway you, there’s always Oprah’s very chill, very free Bold Moves app, which will see you unlocking inspirational quotes by playing through level after level of a low-res Bejeweled knockoff. Perfect for the 2-3 lonely days you have to wait for your bespoke fire starters (I am this close, you guys).